Today is cloud picture day.
When Nan got back to the hospital Wyatt and Willie were sitting in their recliners, trying to doze. She hadn’t been able to sleep much last night, either.
She set her bag on the floor and both men sat up. “Hey guys, sorry. I was trying to be quiet but I guess I failed.”
“I wasn’t asleep, just had my eyes closed.” Willie said.
Nan laughed. “Okay, but I didn’t realize people snored while they were awake.” She laughed and plopped down in her chair with a tired groan.
“Was I snoring?”
“See, I just caught you. If you weren’t asleep, you wouldn’t have to ask.”
“She got you on that one, Will. A nurse came in a few minutes ago and said the surgery was going well. They’ve had some trouble keeping her under, but so far everything looks good.”
“I’m so glad. We need to pray.”
“Everything’s going good.”
“I know. We need to thank God for His mercy.”
“You’re a good woman, Nan.” Wyatt said as he closed his eyes and bowed his head.
“Dear Lord, thank you for showing mercy to our friend, sister, and sister in Christ. Please allow her to heal, if it’s your will. If you have different plans, please give us the strength to endure, amen.” Nan prayed.
“We should call the pastor and tell him Lily’s in the hospital.” Willie said.
“I stopped on the way here. He said he was going to get his wife and they’d be here as soon as possible.”
“You think of everything.” Wyatt said. “I haven’t been to church in a while. I need to get back to it.”
“I couldn’t stay away from church. I love the sermons, learning about God and who He is and what He wants.”
“I do, too. Last week Pastor Fowler talked about true Christians as opposed to false ones. I’ve learned so much.” Willie told Wyatt.
“The last time I went he preached on the sovereignty of God.”
“That was almost a year ago, Wyatt.” Nan was surprised it had been that long since the sheriff attended church. He definitely needed to get back to it.
“I know. All I have is excuses, not even good reasons.”
“Did something happen?”
“No, I just lost motivation.”
“You have to use self-discipline to begin with, but when you’re really saved, you love going to church, being near like-minded people.”
“Maybe I’m not really saved. How would I know for sure?”
“That’s a tough one.”
“It is.” Willie added. “Do you love God? Does your heart yearn for Him? Do you want to read the Bible? Do you pray? Do you feel remorse and sorrow when you sin? Do you hate sin? There are so many different things to examine. Read 1 John. There are some self-examination tests in there that might help.”
“That’s a good idea.” Nan said. A nurse came into the room and her heart sped up to a gallop. Was something wrong?
“Hello. I came to update you.”
“There was a nurse in her a few minutes ago.”
“Yeah I know,” She smiled and said, “Lily is out of surgery now and her vitals are good. She should wake-up in about twenty minutes, or so. You can go see her, but I ask you to use common sense. She just had surgery and she’ll be exhausted. I would limit it to a few minutes at most.”
“You’re welcome. If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to the recovery room.”
They got up and followed her out, anxious to see Lily.
“I’m so glad this is over.” Willie said emotionally.
“It’s not over, bud. They did the surgery, but she has to recover. How long will that take?” Wyatt asked the nurse.
“If there weren’t any impairments it could be anywhere from two to six weeks. Hopefully there weren’t any and recovery will be a matter of rest and care.”
“What do you mean by impairments? She’s going be the same as before, isn’t she?”
“There could be complications, but we won’t know until she wakes up. Sometimes there is memory loss, but it isn’t usually permanent.”
Nan was walking beside the nurse and she stopped at those words. “Nobody told us that.”
“I’m sorry, they should have.”
Nan swallowed a bout of panic. “I hope she remembers.”
“I do, too.” Willie said.
“I’ll third that motion. If Lily doesn’t remember me it’ll tear me up.”
They continued down the hall toward the recovery room, more wary now than before.
They sat down in the chairs someone had been thoughtful enough to put there for them and waited. Each one looked at Lily with mixtures of hope and anxiety.
The clock on the wall ticked loudly and Nan sighed for the third time in as many minutes. Added to the already enormous load on her shoulders was the possibility Lily wouldn’t even remember her. She hadn’t thought of that. How often did a patient lose their memories? If Lily did, she hoped it was temporary. She was the only family Nan had left, and she didn’t think she was strong enough to get through life without her friend.
“Willie, if she doesn’t remember me I’m going to freak-out.”
“You don’t need to tell me, I would too. We’re twins.”
“I don’t usually ‘freak-out’ about things, but in this case, I might. I’ve liked Lily for years, and when we finally acknowledge each other, she might not remember?” He rubbed his hand across his face.
Nan felt compassion for the sheriff. He was so guarded when it came to his feelings, and he’d allowed them to hear how he felt. It must be hard for him. “Hey, I forgot about the pastor. What’s he gonna think when he shows up and we’re not there?”
“He’ll probably realize she’s out of surgery, if you told him.”
“I did. He’s smart enough to figure it out.” Nan fidgeted with the strings on her pajama pants while she waited for Lily to wake-up. “This is excruciating.”
“I know, I can’t remember ever being so impatient for something.” Wyatt said. He took his cap off and scratched his head.
“Nan, where are you?” Lily asked. She jerked, moaned, and blinked a few times, moving her head in all directions. Her gaze fell on Nan. She held her arms out, tears shimmering brightly in her gray eyes.
“I was so scared.”
“I’m glad you’re okay.” Relief flooded through Nan and she hugged her friend to her tightly. This had been such an emotionally experience; one she didn’t want to repeat.
“I am too. What happened?”
“You don’t know?”
Willie rushed over and hugged his sister, tears glistening in his own eyes. “You scared us too, sis. I’m so glad you’re back with us.”
“What happened, exactly?” Lily’s brow furrowed.
A trickle of alarm surged through Nan. Was she okay? “”What’s the last thing you remember, sugar?”
Lily’s face scrunched as she concentrated on the question. “I remember going Christmas shopping with you and Willie.”
“Are you serious?” Willie asked. “This is May, Lily.”
“What? You can’t be serious? Why would I think it’s Christmas time?”
“You know you had a tumor, right?” Nan asked.
“I have a tumor?” Confusion spread over Lily’s face.
Nan could see she was becoming alarmed. She walked over between Wyatt and Willie and whispered, “Don’t upset her, and give her the time she needs to process.”
Wyatt got the ‘deer in the headlights’ look and mumbled around until she said, “Well?”
“We’re kind of Boyfriend and girlfriend.” He looked at Willie and Nan to see how they would take his statement.
“We are?” Such hope lit Lily’s eyes that the group laughed at her exuberance.
“We were talking.”
“What were we saying?”
Wyatt laughed in joy. He was so happy she was okay, and actually remembered him. So what if she didn’t remember anything since Christmas? The people were the important thing.
“We were telling each other we’d liked each other for a long time. I didn’t think you were interested in me.”
“I didn’t think you were interested in me, either.” She held a hand out and he moved forward and took it gently in his. It was hot and dry. He looked at Nan in alarm. He used his eyes to try to get her attention, but she was looking at Lily’s face. He cleared his throat, but neither Nan nor Willie got the hint.
“What’s wrong, Wyatt?”
“You’re fevered. I’m going to get the doctor.” He left the room at a run. He found a nurse and directed her back to Lily’s room. She feels really hot and I’m worried.” The nurse followed him and immediately pulled a thermometer out. As she put it up to Lily’s forehead, she went into convulsions, and chaos reigned.
The three new-found friends were pushed out of the room to wait and worry.
“Why is she having convulsions?” Nan asked.
“It could be a febrile seizure, but doesn’t that usually affect children?”
“I don’t know. Please Dear Lord let her be okay.”
“Yes Dear Lord, please let her be okay.” Wyatt said.
Pastor Fowler walked up to them and said, “Is everything okay?”
“It was, and then she had a seizure. We do know she was running a fever.”
“Let’s pray for her.” They all joined hands and bowed their heads. “Dear father, please be with this young lady in her time of need, and give her the strength she needs to fight whatever is taking over in her body, amen.”
They sat down on a bench along the wall to wait for someone to come out and tell them something. They waited almost an hour. The green double-doors finally opened and the same nurse who’d come and got them earlier that day came out. “Lily is stable. We have the fever under control but it’s unclear whether it was the cause of her seizure.”
“Is she gonna be okay?” Nan asked as she sat forward.
“We think so. As I said, her fever is under control and she’s stable. She needs to rest though so there won’t be any more visits today.”
“That’s too bad.” Pastor Fowler said. “I was looking forward to seeing her.”
“You can come back in the morning. I’m sorry for the inconvenience but we think it’s best for her recovery.”
“That’s perfectly fine, young lady. Whatever’s best for her is exactly what we want.”
The nurse returned behind the doors and Wyatt said, “Now what?”
“We might as well go home until the morning. We can’t stay in her room if she can’t have visitors.” Willie said. “I’ll be back at 5:00 a.m. sharp, though. I want to make sure my sister is okay.”
“I do, too. I guess I’ll go back to the station and catch up on some of the paperwork I missed yesterday and today.”
“That sounds like fun.” Nan said. “I wish I could just see her for a minute, make sure she’s okay.”
“I do too but they’re not going to allow it. Pastor, it was nice to see you.” Wyatt stretched his hand out and the pastor shook it.
“Why haven’t you been to church lately, son?”
“We were talking about that a little bit ago. All I have are excuses, not good reasons.”
“Then we’ll see you Sunday?” The pastor asked.
“I’ll probably be here Sunday, sir. If I’m not, you can bet I’ll be there.” Wyatt smiled and turned his attention to Nan. “Walk you out?”
“Yeah sure, let me get my bag.” They walked down the hall together, toward Lily’s room.
“Thank you for coming pastor, Mrs. Fowler.”
“How have you been Willie?” Marion Fowler asked with a sweet smile. She was always so quiet and soft-spoken.
Willie liked her a lot. The Fowlers were like the grandparents he’d never known. “I’ve been good. I’m terribly upset about my sister. She’s so young and full of life. It’s one of the things I have difficulty with.”
“Do you mean the sickness and death of those so young?” Pastor Fowler asked.
“Yes. Why would God do that?”
“That’s a hard question. I could tell you the answer but it isn’t going to make you feel any better.”
“What is it?”
“Once sin entered the world, so did pain, suffering, sickness and death. Someday there won’t be any more suffering. I can’t wait for that day.”
“I can’t either. Lily is a good person, you know? She helps others, she’s generous, kind and compassionate; all things I need to work on, but it comes to her naturally.”
“I think it probably comes to her supernaturally.” The pastor grinned. “If you need to talk, Willie, make an appointment and we can discuss the things you’re having trouble with.”
“That would be great, pastor, thank you.”
“You’re welcome, William. We’ll get a pray chain going for your sister. Call us if something happens before we come back in the morning. Is eight okay?”
“That’s perfect, sir. I know she’ll want to see you.”
“Okay son, take it easy.” Mrs. Fowler smiled and they left.
“Now what do I do?” Willie said to the empty hallway. He waited for a few seconds, not sure what he was waiting on. There was nobody here. He missed his sister, and he missed Nan. She was so vibrant and alive, and he wished she was back here with him. He left the hospital quiet and bereft.